Following my interview on BBC Radio Gloucestershire (listen from 43:30) to kick off their blog week, here are 10 steps to get you started on blogging for business. Writing a business blog can have many benefits such as converting leads to new customers and improving your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). See Step 1 below for other benefits then read on to discover how you can be up and running with your business blog in 10 easy steps.
1) Consider your objectives – Before you start writing it’s important to be clear about your business objectives for your blog. What is its aim or purpose? Do you want to increase the amount of traffic to your website, spread awareness of your business or perhaps demonstrate your expertise and thought leadership.
2) Choose your subject – What is your subject or theme going to be? It makes sense to tie your theme in with your objectives. If you want to demonstrate your expertise then it would make sense to write commentary and opinion about your industry sector. There are acres upon acres of content on the web, so to get noticed it’s a good idea to blog about a specific niche and/or make your writing personal. That is, write about your own thoughts, ideas and opinions thus making it unique and not simply a regurgitation of similar blogs and news sites. Think about what your audience wants to hear. What can you provide for them that will be useful and relevant?
3) Plan and then plan some more – Now that your blog has a purpose and theme it’s time for that most important step of all; planning. Planning takes the pain away from blogging. If you are always planning ahead with subjects, thoughts and ideas it makes writing your blog a lot easier. You should also set your own deadlines around the frequency of your blog. Are you blogging daily, weekly or monthly? I jot down notes during my day when I spot something of interest eg a new feature on a social network, and then I incorporate this in my next Social Media News blog.
4) Prepare content – A blog isn’t just about writing. A great blog will usually include some of the following; images, photos, infographics, video, audio, and helpful references to other websites. The best content is original content which provides your blog with something unique that your readers or viewers can’t obtain elsewhere. You can use a smartphone to shoot video and take photos and a tool like Canva to edit photos and produce great images.
5) Choose your host and domain – The best location for your blog is as part of your website. It makes senses for your readers that your they can find your blog at the same place as your website. Why ask them to visit it somewhere else? Your blog will help attract visitors to the rest of your website and will help with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). If it’s not possible to include as part of your website then you’ll need hosting and a domain. For advice on this, I suggest you contact Rich Mehta of Rigorous Digital.
6) Choose a platform – If you are incorporating your blog in your website then there’s no need for an additional platform but if you are having a stand-alone blog the most popular option is WordPress, which can also be used for websites eg intranetfuture.com. You do need to be technically minded or have web development support for WordPress, but if you’re not then Blogger, owned by Google, is worth a look.
7) Write your first post – Now that the building blocks in steps 1-6 are in place, the stage is now set! It’s time to put your fingers to the keyboard and write your first post. If you’ve planned as suggested in step 4, you should have a structure which you can now populate.
8) Choose an eye catching headline – Your headline can end up being an afterthought but it should be given important consideration. It’s often the only part of your blog post that will be seen in social network posts and it’s the first words that your reader will see. Your heading needs to draw people into reading your post and should be unique, creative, clickable and eye-catching. Not easy! Try to include works like ways, tips, reasons, tips, tricks or secrets or expressions like ‘how to’. If you’re reading this, the last suggestion clearly works! Try and get over the value or benefit your reader will receive by reading your post and make it sound exciting – eg ‘5 secret ways to boost your sales’ or ‘Learn how to jive in 60 seconds’.
9) Proof read – Once your blog is complete, check for typos, grammar and spelling mistakes. This is a step that I can certainly improve on! but it’s important for your blog writing to be professional. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do yourself then hire a professional like Sue Kelso-Ryan.
10) Share – Now that your post is finished you need to attract readers. Share your post across your social networks and where you can, include a reason for people to visit your blog or some extra comment. Eg Just finished latest post on juicing. Learn how I lost a stone in a month – “My 30 day juice fast”. Encourage your readers to share by adding social sharing buttons to each blog article, making it easy for them to share to their friends and followers. You can also get yourself noticed by posting appropriate comments in relevant blogs but make sure you are adding value and not just spamming.
And a bonus tip: End your blog post with a ‘call to action’ like this….
If you have tips on starting blogging for business, please comment below.